Large crowds nationwide give thanks for new saints

Irish join in papal celebrations

Large numbers turned out to thanksgiving ceremonies held across the country on Sunday, to celebrate the canonisations of St John Paul II, Pope and St John XXIII, Pope.

Organisers estimate that nearly 5,000 people attended the Mass at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway celebrated in glorious sunshine by Bishop Martin Drennan, almost 35 years after St John Paul himself celebrated Mass here, followed by a catechesis session for youth groups.

Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown was the principal celebrant at a Mass of Thanksgiving in a packed-out Basilica in Knock, where he described the two Popes as powerfully sharing “the history of the Church in the 20th Century”.

At a Thanksgiving Mass in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral on Sunday, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin gave thanks to God “for the gifts which these two Popes brought to the Church and for their incessant dedication and prayer for the Church at times of rapid change in the Church and the world”.

Local vigil

Pilgrims who walked from Dublin to Clonmacnois joined a local vigil on Saturday night and a Mass on Sunday celebrated by Bishop Francis Duffy.

In Derry, Bishop Donal McKeown celebrated a diocesan Mass in St Eugene’s Cathedral, involving young people connected to the Pope John Paul II Award who were presented with commemorative wrist bands inscribed with St John Paul II’s words in Galway “I believe in youth”.

Also on Divine Mercy Sunday a Mass of Thanksgiving for Ss John Paul II and John XXIII was celebrated by Archbishop Eamon Martin in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.

In the Diocese of Killaloe there was a concelebrated Mass in Ss John & Paul Church in Shannon, where St John Paul blessed the foundation stone during his visit to Ireland in 1979. Meanwhile in a ceremony in Tralee, Co. Kerry relics from both saints were installed in the Dominican priory, along with relics from St Faustina who was canonised by Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday, 14 years ago.